SHRM-Atlanta Program
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Business Acumen

These sessions cover general business knowledge, judgment and awareness for all levels of HR practitioners. Specialists, generalists and mid-level professionals can develop and enhance their fundamental business literacy, while seasoned leaders can hone and improve their decision-making skills. All HR professionals can learn how their actions and decisions affect outcomes at the functional unit or organizational level.

The Building of an HR Strategy

Creating an HR strategy for a like set of businesses is simple. But creating a holistic HR strategy for a portfolio of diverse businesses? That’s a different animal.

In this session, we will discuss the importance of recognizing likenesses and leverage differences in a diverse set of businesses. AMB Group, LLC the parent company of the Atlanta Falcons and PGA Tour Superstores, is adding two significant businesses (The new Atlanta Stadium and the new Atlanta MLS Soccer franchise) in 2017. The HR organization is rapidly evolving to build the necessary strategy and support infrastructure to support this growth. I will share the organization’s journey to evolve the function and role of HR.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Critical importance of HR Business partnership & value creation.
  2. Identifying & building HR infrastructure.
  3. The differences between CoE’s (Centers of Expertise), shared services and HR delivery.

Speaker: Lisa Chang, SVP, Human Resources, AMB Group, LLC

Lisa Chang is Senior Vice President Human Resources for AMB Group LLC. AMB Group, LLC is the investment management and shared services arm of The Blank Family of Businesses. In addition to AMB Group, Blank’s Family of Businesses portfolio includes The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation; the Atlanta Falcons; PGA TOUR Superstore; and Mountain Sky Guest Ranch. Additionally, there will be two new businesses added to the portfolio including the new Atlanta Stadium and the newly announced Atlanta Major League Soccer team.

As Senior Vice President of HR, she oversees HR, Corporate Security and Aviation for the businesses. She leads HR strategy and policy for the current businesses, as well as for planned growth over the next few years related to the operation of the new Atlanta stadium and MLS team. She is also responsible for development and implementation of all HR programs, including talent management, compensation, organizational design and HR infrastructure. In addition to leading human resources for the family of businesses, Lisa is a key member of the executive team in matters related to business strategy and execution.

She is a graduate of the University of Virginia with a BA in Communications and earned an MBA at Mercer University’s Stetson School of Business & Economics.

Transformational HR: Best Practices for Changing Human Resources to Best Serve the Needs of the Business

The HR profession has continued to evolve over the past 15 years to better support the needs of business, yet many HR teams are still under-performing or far from reaching their potential. Randy joins us to share some of the critical lessons and best practices for developing and enhancing your HR function. Randy will draw upon his experience from several HR transformations across multiple Fortune 500 companies in Atlanta to help increase your value and effectiveness. This includes building an HR team, building and aligning the HR strategy, HR transformation and mastery and what is trending and progressive in HR.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Share critical lessons and best practices for building an HR team and aligning the HR strategy.
  2. Provide a unique and entertaining perspective on HR transformation and mastery.
  3. Provide an update on what is trending and progressive in HR.

Speaker: Randy Patterson, Chief Human Resources Officer, BlueLinx

Randy Patterson serves as the Chief Human Resources Officer for BlueLinx, an Atlanta-based Fortune 1000 organization and leading distributor of building products in North America. In this role, Randy has enterprise-wide responsibility for the organization’s human capital strategy, including compensation, talent management, organizational design, organizational effectiveness, benefits, payroll, labor relations and organizational development. Randy has also served in various other HR leadership roles throughout his career with several leading organizations, including SunTrust Bank and The Home Depot. Randy holds a bachelor's degree in business management and a master's degree in business administration from Georgia State University. Randy currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Atlanta chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management and the Board of Trustees for the Chattahoochee Nature Center. Randy is also an active member of the Atlanta Human Resources Leadership Forum (HRLF) and the Georgia State University HR Executive Roundtable.

Ally or Adversary: The 3 Mistakes That HR Leaders Make That Prevent Them From Cultivating Strategic Relationships... And What You Can Do To Avoid Them!

Work is the toughest team sport that any of us will play. But few are equipped to grow business relationships and bottom line results. Research and experience show that it’s the quality of your working relationships that has the greatest impact on success, business and personal. Cultivating Winning Relationships™ focuses on the ‘how’ of successful businesses, clarifying the rules of engagement across teams.

  • Blindsided by a colleagues’ words or actions?
  • Hesitated to make a decision for fear of others’ reactions?
  • Guarded in your feedback or opinion?

Cultivate is not a “be nicer” message. This program provides practical insights to transform your working environment and results in:

  • Increased collaboration and teamwork
  • Improved employee engagement through candor and debate
  • Grow Ally relationships in & outside your workplace.

Whether you’re a seasoned leader, or new to the workplace you’ll see the world of work in a whole new way. Build your career and team success through the power of positive professional relationships.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Articulate why quality working relationships matter, the business and personal impact
  2. Understand the three mistakes the HR leaders make when it comes to cultivating strategic relationships
  3. Apply the Relationship Ecosystem™ to diagnose the health and quality of your professional relationships
  4. Determine the next steps to develop your Ally relationships and manage Adversarial relationships

Speaker: Morag Barrett, CEO & Founder, SkyeTeam

Morag Barrett is the author of "Cultivate. The Power of Winning Relationships" (Franklin Green Publishing, March 2014) and CEO of SkyeTeam, an international HR and executive development company. Morag draws from a deep and unique operational skill set. Her 25 year career includes 15 years in finance, as well as senior executive coaching and developing teams across Europe, America and Asia in a range of industries including: Healthcare, Telecoms, Mining, Manufacturing, Engineering, and Technology. Morag understands the challenges of running a business as well as the complexities of leading and managing the people that are part of that business.

Strategic Employee Engagement Surveys: Moving from Reporting Numbers to Identifying Key Business Drivers, Focused Action Planning, and Demonstrating ROI

Employee surveys have not seen many advances in recent years—just collecting data and spitting out reports. However, with some strategic planning, surveys can be effective tools to help leaders identify areas that are driving business outcomes, prioritize managers’ actions, and show direct impact on business outcomes. Using analytics to hone in on the most important business drivers from employee engagement surveys enables HR practitioners to show the value of employee surveys and quantify the impact of strategic action planning and follow through. This session will help HR leaders leverage their employee surveys to make a noticeable impact for their organizations.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Show senior leaders the direct business impact from employee surveys
  2. Create reports that put actionable information in the hands of managers
  3. Present survey information to senior leaders that is impactful

Speakers: Scott Mondore, Ph.D., Managing Partner, Strategic Management Decisions & Hannah Spell, Ph.D., Director of Research & Analytics, Strategic Management Decisions

Scott Mondore has over 15 years of experience and is the co-founder and managing partner of Strategic Management Decisions (SMD). SMD has the only patented assessment platform that links people data directly to actual business outcomes. Scott is the co-author of “Investing in What Matters: Linking Employees to Business Outcomes” (SHRM, 2009) and “Business-Focused HR: 11 Processes to Drive Results” (SHRM, 2011). Scott holds a master's degree and doctorate in applied psychology from the University of Georgia.

Hannah Spell provides senior-level consulting to all of SMD’s clients including: analyzing data, building presentations, presenting results, and supporting any follow-up activities and events. Before joining SMD, she worked for the federal government, non-profit research grants, and State Farm conducting various research projects, performing advanced analytics around HR issues, and providing internal consulting services. She has experience with research programs, HR measurement and analytics, survey design and implementation, as well as action-planning and strategy. She holds a master’s degree and doctorate in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from the University of Georgia.

Leading the Way Up: Succession Planning Strategies From Frontline to CEO

Are you doing enough to prepare for eventual changes in senior leadership? Surveys show only 25% of companies have an adequate pool of candidates ready to move into key positions, and research shows those that do tend to perform better. Succession planning is an issue critical for any organization’s future success. Done right, it is a process that demands continuous attention, and is an opportunity for HR Leaders to exercise their role as a strategic partner in the business. This session will cover best practices to support your current and future business needs, and includes C-level business leaders sharing case examples and strategies for successful outcomes.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Succession planning strategies that align with current and future business goals
  2. Assessment methods that accurately measure fit for top positions and HIPO gaps
  3. HR’s role in leading the way for a comprehensive and continuous succession planning process

Speakers: Jack Middleton, President & CEO, SMC³, Bob Turknett, CEO, Turknett Leadership Group & Lyn Turknett, President, Turknett Leadership Group

Jack Middleton, SMC³ President and CEO, is the cohesive force behind business operations, including the direct interface with the company's board of directors. After joining SMC³ as an accountant, Middleton served as the organization's assistant treasurer and corporate secretary. He is a graduate of Clayton State College and Georgia State University and holds degrees in accounting, finance and human resource management. In July of 2007, Middleton was invited by the U.S. Council on Competitiveness to participate as a delegate and speaker at the first-ever U.S.-Brazil Innovation Summit in Brasilia, Brazil. He also served on a panel, chaired by former U.S. Congressman Michael Oxley, presenting private sector perspectives in regard to "Shaping the Americas Ecosystem for Innovation and Competitiveness." Middleton feels honored to serve on Georgia Congressman Lynn Westmoreland's Transportation and Aviation Advisory Council. He also serves on the board of directors of several organizations including the Fayette County Youth Protection Homes, Transportation Costing Group, Excel Federal Credit Union, and the Southern Transportation Logistics Association.

Dr. Robert (Bob) Turknett is an executive leadership coach and licensed psychologist with over 28 years of consulting experience. He is the Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of Turknett Leadership Group, an Atlanta-based consulting firm providing leadership and organization development services. Dr. Turknett specializes in CEO Consulting, executive team development and individual development and coaching. Bob has served as an executive coach to more than 1,000 executives in more than 100 companies, both large and small businesses in a variety of industries. Dr. Turknett received his undergraduate degree in business from Jacksonville University and his doctorate in psychology from the University of Georgia.

Carolyn Turknett is co-founder and President of Turknett Leadership Group, an Atlanta-based consulting firm providing leadership and organization development services to companies in a variety of industries. She has more than 20 years experience in management and leadership consulting. The focus of her work is character in leadership, organization assessment and change, executive team development, and leadership in turbulent times. Ms. Turknett’s consulting engagements have included leadership and executive team development, cultural assessment and change, mergers, and individual feedback and coaching. Ms. Turknett attended Mount Holyoke College and received her B.S. in Mathematics from the University of Georgia.

Shaping the Future of HR: Using the SHRM Foundation as Your Crystal Ball

In 2013, the SHRM Foundation introduced its new Thought Leadership Initiative to inform "what's next". Mark Schmit, SHRM Foundation Executive Director and Tom Darrow, 2015-2016 SHRM Foundation Board Chair will co-present on:

  1. Evolution of 'Work' and the 'Worker'. Globalization of business, changing demographics and changing patterns of mobility will continue to change the nature of work and the worker over the next 5 to 10 years.
  2. Engaging and Integrating a Global Workforce. Cultural integration and clashes/unrest will continue to grow globally at both a societal and corporate level over the next 5 to 10 years.
  3. Use of Talent Analytics for Competitive Advantage. Talent shortages will continue to grow globally over the next 5 to 10 years requiring HR to become the provider of human capital analytics for input to strategic business decision making.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Learn how work and the worker is evolving and how to be prepared for the next 5-10 years as an HR professional.
  2. Learn how to engage and integrate a global workforce.
  3. Learn how to use Talent Analytics to help your organization drive strategic business decision making.

Speakers: Tom Darrow, SHRM-SCP, SPHR, Founder and Principal, Talent Connections, LLC & Career Spa, LLC & Mark Schmit, Ph.D., SHRM-SCP, Executive Director, SHRM Foundation

Tom Darrow is the Founder and Principal of Talent Connections, LLC and Career Spa, LLC. Talent Connections specializes in recruitment process outsourcing (RPO), executive search, HR consulting, and contract recruiting. The company has offices in Atlanta and Jacksonville, Florida. Career Spa was launched in 2009 and is revolutionizing the way unemployed and misemployed workers navigate their career transitions. Offices are located in Atlanta and Houston, Texas. Tom has over 23 years experience in the Human Resources and Recruitment profession -- including 9 years with Price Waterhouse and Accenture. He served as President of SHRM-Atlanta in 2006 and 2007. Under his leadership, the Chapter grew over 60% to over 2600 members and initiated two programs that won SHRM Pinnacle Awards. Tom earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Accounting from the University of Notre Dame.

Mark J. Schmit is the Executive Director for the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Foundation. In this capacity he leads the Foundation's efforts to advance the strategic direction and impact of the HR profession. Dr. Schmit was previously the Vice President of Research for SHRM. Dr. Schmit has more than 25 years of experience in the field of human resources and has also been an academic, applied researcher, HR generalist, and internal and external consultant to both public and private organizations. Dr. Schmit earned a Ph.D. in Industrial and Organizational Psychology from Bowling Green State University in 1994. He has published more than 25 professional journal articles and book chapters and delivered more than 75 presentations at professional meetings on HR and Industrial/Organizational Psychology topics. Dr. Schmit is a Fellow in both the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology and the American Psychological Association.

Seven Steps to Becoming a Practical HR Futurist

HR professionals often struggle with how to add strategic value in their positions. We are taught that HR is supposed to be "environmental scanners" and understand the impact of all the changes that are going on in the world. But how do you do that? This session will offer methods, tools and resources that the HR professional can apply in their companies allowing them to add the long desired strategic value. What will be covered includes: Looking forward by looking back; getting STEEP; using systems thinking; trends and forecasts; understanding implications; scenario generation; and the impact/probability matrix.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Attendees will understand what needs to be studied to be a futurist
  2. Attendees will be taught about the use of the probability matrix
  3. Attendees will be give action steps for implementing the seven steps

Speaker: Michael Haberman, SPHR, Consultant and Partner, Omega HR Solutions, Inc.

Michael D. Haberman is a consultant and partner of Omega HR Solutions, Inc., a consulting and services company offering complete human resources solutions. Mike brings over 30 years of experience in dealing with the challenges of Human Resources in the 21st century. He authors the HR blog entitled HR Observations at He speaks, writes and teaches on a number of management and HR issues. In his blog he writes about working with the laws and regulations in the HR field. He also writes about "futurist" topics in order to prepare HR professionals for things they will have to deal with in the next 5 to 10 years. Additionally he is the co-host of a podcast radio show, where he discusses the good, the bad and the ugly about human resources.

Closing the Gap Between Finance and HR

There is often a gap between the languages spoken by the CFO and HR leaders due to differences in the information and metrics they use to support business decisions. Some of the differences are valid given the differences in scope and responsibilities; however there are opportunities to close other gaps for the benefit of the company and the effectiveness of HR programs. Through real-world examples, attendees will gain insight into how HR leaders can close the gap by aligning goals and communication for better collaboration with CFOs. Attendees will learn the importance of leveraging business intelligence to express the benefits of investing in human capital and how the return on investment can positively impact the bottom line with a more productive and engaged workforce.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Understand company performance through the lens of the CFO and share a common perspective.
  2. Collaborate with CFOs to align human capital investments with organizational goals.
  3. Leverage business intelligence to illustrate the metrics that matter from a financial perspective.

Speakers: Katie Lafiandra, VP, Human Resources, Beazer Homes, Scott Law, CPA, Atlanta Managing Partner, Tatum, a Randstad Company & David Morris, CFO, Tensar Corporation 

Scott Law, drawing on an extensive career in the executive search realm, in which he held leadership positions with several professional services companies, is responsible for building out Tatum's local practice through market and business development and helping companies understand how Tatum can help them reach their organizational goals with the right interim executive talent. He also is accountable for all office team hiring, mentoring and development, as well as ensuring the overall quality of Tatum's partner and consultant pools. Earlier in his career, Law served as a Divisional CFO for Zep Manufacturing, Corporate Controller for Oldcastle, and as an auditor with KPMG.. Law is also an adjunct professor at Georgia State University J. Mack Robinson College of Business.

Bridging the Gap -- How to Think Like a CEO

It's no secret that there's usually a disconnect in terms of communication between HR and a CEO or executive team. In a 2012 survey published by IBM 37% of CEOs indicated that HR is too focused on processes and rules and that they don't understand the business well enough to participate in the company's strategic development. As a CEO who works closely with thousands of HR representatives, Ryan has a unique perspective into both worlds and knows what it takes to make HR's voice align with the vision of the company. Secure your position as both an advocate for rules/processes whilst being an invaluable asset when it comes to the CEO's bottom line.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Learn how to focus on and address the right topics for discussion with the CEO, CFO, and company executives.
  2. Gain the respect you deserve by understanding how to effectively communicate with the CEO to ensure your voice is heard.
  3. Most importantly, you'll discover what the CEO's bottom line involves and how to approach issues from the perspective of business development.

Speaker: Ryan Kohler, Founder & Chief Innovation Officer, ApplicantPro

Ryan Kohler has an MBA from Southern Utah University and specializes in web-based marketing which provides him with a unique perspective when it comes to hiring optimization and management. Ryan's the founder of JobMatch LLC, makers of iApplicants and ApplicantPro, easy to use hiring software that has simplified and optimized the hiring process for over 2000 companies and HR Professionals. He also provides employment consulting specializing in the service industry. He became an HRCI Approved Provider in 2013 after he realized the value in empowering HR Professionals to become more technical by teaching them to think more like an Internet Marketer and to apply those skills to hiring. He uses this knowledge and experience to help make HR more strategic by conducting weekly, free webinars that provide HRCI Continuing Education credit and by presenting at SHRM events around the country.

Generational Diversity: Its Impact & New Engagement Needs

Today's workplace spans at least four generations and there is no one size fits all solution to managing a multi-generational workforce. Members of each generation bring distinct sets of values, attitudes and behaviors to the workplace. Each generation has unique expectations, priorities, work styles and communication preferences. When ignored, these differences lead to a work place full of misunderstanding and conflict. When appropriately managed the diversity can result in opportunities for collaboration and synergy that drive competitive advantage.

This session addresses some of the various strategic planning, communications and active engagement approaches and solutions to handling the growing data collected about generational expectations, preferences and relative impact on the workplace.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Workforce is more diverse than ever, and each has a different trajectory for motivation, needs, and preparedness.
  2. Engagement research reaches critical mass; how to access and apply it.
  3. Competitive need to be liked by the workforce; identifying measures of satisfaction and engagement compared to competition.

Speaker: Charles Rodriguez, Senior Director of Consulting & Program Development, Adams Keegan, Inc.

Driving Leadership Change at UPS

Emerging markets, rapid change and industrialization represent significant growth opportunities. In order to capitalize on that growth, UPS realized it needed to adjust its leadership development strategy to recognize, grow, and retain the best talent in different global settings. UPS has a long history of promotion from within, with a legacy of developing their people into leaders who can eventually run a multi-billion dollar business. Learn how its HR leaders met the challenge while maintaining their long-standing culture and core practices.

  1. Understand how establishing a global growth model requires agility and flexibility for leadership development
  2. Learn how rigorous HR planning and alignment are required to drive leadership change while preserving the core culture and legacy
  3. Hear about some hard lessons learned while expanding internationally and how UPS adjusted its leadership development plan

Speaker: Michael G. Johnson, Chief Human Resources Officer, UPS

Michael “Mike” G. Johnson is UPS’s Chief Human Resources Officer. Mike is responsible for managing human resources for an organization of 400,000 employees worldwide. Committed to maintaining UPS’s reputation as an employer of choice, Mike oversees the company’s human capital strategy to develop and retaining a diverse and highly-skilled workforce while transforming his function to better align to the company’s mission. Prior to his current assignment, Mike successfully directed the change management efforts for the largest reorganization in UPS’s U.S. operation. This reorganization included an H.R. restructuring effort to improve both operational efficiency and H.R. metrics.

Mike began his career with UPS in 1975 as a part-time package handler in Los Angeles. Throughout his career, he has taken on increased responsibilities in operations and HR positions in various parts of the U.S., including New York, Chicago and Atlanta.